Jacek Proniewicz travel blog

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Kite and Windsurfing in Frontignan

image image image image image image image image image imageFrontignan Beach Languedoc-Roussillon

Frontignan Beach Languedoc-RoussillonThe small town of Frontignan is built along the western edge of the Ingril lagoon at the foot of the massif de la Gardiole north of Sète and the surrounding area offers pretty Mediterranean scenery, including roughly 800 hectares of vineyards where the famous Muscat de Frontignan wine has been made for over 2000 years. Numerous biking and walking trails allow visitors to discover the massif de la Gardiole and enjoy the views of the coastline from its summit, and a pleasant morning can be spent visiting the nearby village of la Peyrade. The 7km beach itself is quite urbanised and a mix of pebbles and sand which is regularly awarded for its cleanliness, and the lagoon is very popular with kite surfing enthusiasts. Close by, the marina is the starting point for cruises for fishing or scuba diving parties.

Aosta Valley and Courmayeur Ski Resorts

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The Aosta Valley is the smallest autonomous region in Italy but boasts many of Italy’s, and indeed the Alps, highest peaks. Throughout the valley there are over 800km of marked pistes and 150 ski lifts, mostly spread amongst the resorts of Courmayeur, La Thuile, Pila, Champlouc and Gressoney. Marked by Mont Blanc at the western end and stretching to the Monterosa in the east, the Aosta Valley is also home to the Italian flanks of the Alps most famous peak – the iconic Matterhorn and one of the valleys best known resorts – Cervinia.The resorts form the base of several distinct ski areas, La Thuile, Courmayeur Mont-Blanc, the Monterosa, Alagna in Piemonte, of course, Cervinia which now includes the entire Zermatt ski area linked at high altitude across the glacier. Although not all lift linked, one pass now buys you access to all these slopes, along with an extraordinary quantity, quality and variety of off-piste terrain.

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Courmayeur

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The historic mountain town of Courmayeur is one of the world’s top ski resorts. It sits on the Italian side of Mont Blanc, western Europe’s highest mountain, which it shares with Chamonix over on the French side. The scenery all around you here is spectacular, with fourteen 4,000m plus mountain peaks above and Courmayeur is a very atmospheric resort where ancient buildings huddle around cobbled streets so that the whole place oozes traditional charm.The resort offers skiing for all standards, including famous runs such as the resort’s World Cup Downhill and the International, a 6km (4 miles) run which drops 1,000m (approximately 3,300 feet) as it descends. Many runs are covered by snowmaking and the resort has a very good snow record.Serious skiers are likely to head for the more limited lift network of Mont Blanc, which serves steeper, more spectacular trail and links over to Chamonix which, along with Argentière further up the Chamonix Valley, is included on the Courmayeur lift pass.Beginners have wide open slopes to gain confidence on, with tuition from the Mont Blanc Ski School, founded in 1936 and one of Italy’s oldest and most prestigious. Intermediates are the most spoilt having both the wide open spaces and testing routes above Courmayeur and the ability to tackle the incredible runs that are unique to Mont Blanc.

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My 4 years trip around the world ,part 16 ,MIRI -SARAWAK

Miri ~ Sarawak

Miri is the 2nd largest city in Sarawak and has a population of 300,000 people with a mixture of Chinese, indigineous tribes who have moved down from their native lands that have been logged, and Malays (mostly immigrated to Miri by way of government postings or from forefathers emigrating from Brunei).

Miri is Sarawak and Malaysia’s first Oil producing area. Oil was first officially recorded in 1882 by Claude Champion de Crespigny, the British Resident of the Baram district in Sarawak. The locals had been using this black substance long before, collecting it for medicinal use, for waterproofing of boats and for lighting oil lamps. It was not until 1910 when the first oil company moved in to exploit its wealth.

Sarawak Shell were given the sole rights to mining oil in Miri until 1954 when the onshore oilfields dried out and exploration turned to the rich oil wells located in the seedbeds. Today, the oldest Oil Well in Miri is a reminder of the humble beginnings of Sarawak and more appropriately, Malaysia’s dependence on this commodity that has made the country what it is. The oil well is affectionately called ‘The Grand Old Lady’ and is located on Canada Hill. According to local myth, the hill is named such because of a Canadian who relocated in the early years as a recruitment manager, recruiting local and foreign workers as hands at the oil wells that quickly sprung up around the area.

After a productive run with an estimated 660,000 barrels of oil drawn from the oil well, The Grand Old Lady was shut down in 1972. Next to the Grand Old Lady, the Miri Petroleum Science Museum exhibits the history and technicalities of the industry. Miri has not much else to do and so a visit to this museum would be pretty much the highlight of your stay. Imagine highlighting Curtin University as a major tourist destination in the ‘Visit Miri brochure’, that’s really scraping the bottom of the barrel!

For those interested in parks and gardens, there are a total of 14 such locations around Miri locale. Miri also has their share of music festivals with its International Jazz Festival held May annually.

The other interesting place of visit is the tamu market called Tamu Muhibbah. It’s open daily and is located just a stone’s throw from the Tourist Information Centre. There are 2 sections to the market: the wet section where local and imported vegetable and meat produce are sold and the dry section where you can get local fruits like Buah Salak, durian, lime on sale here. Hill rice from Bario and Ba’Kelalan is also on sale here. The indigenous people bring their produce from the hills and jungles to sell here. However, it’s certainly more noticeable that compared to a decade ago, the variety in jungle produce has reduced greatly. The local people laments that it is not due to the weather conditions (Miri has been encountering strange weather conditions in recent years) but because there really isn’t much of a jungle for them to go to.

Miri is more like a transit point for most tourists or travellers. From this city, travel out to :

Lambir Hills National Park, Niah National Park and Caves, Mulu National Park, Ulu Baram Area, Bario and Ba’Kelalan and Loagan Bunut National Park.

Some 45minutes drive away from the city centre will take you to the bridge connecting Miri with Brunei.

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Next .back to Singapore

My 4 years trip around the world ,part 12 .HONG-KONG first time

Hong-kong .
Situated on the southeast coast of China, Hong Kong’s strategic location on the Pearl River Delta and South China Sea has made it one of the world’s most thriving and cosmopolitan cities.
Hong Kong as we know it today was born when China’s Qing dynasty government was defeated in the First Opium War in 1842, when it ceded Hong Kong Island to Britain. Within 60 years, Kowloon, the New Territories and 235 Outlying Islands were also leased to Britain. However, the history of the more than 1100 square kilometres that Hong Kong now occupies predates the events of the Qing dynasty by more than a thousand years. And, as you explore the city’s colourful heritage, you’ll discover stories of powerful clans, marauding pirates and European traders.
From its earliest days as a British colony, Hong Kong served as a centre of international trade. In the turbulent years of the early 20th century, the city’s population was bolstered by refugees, mostly from China. The arrival of immigrants in large numbers helped launch a new role for Hong Kong as a major manufacturing hub. It also brought economically stimulating energy and industry to the city’s character. In recent decades, as the economy of Mainland China has undergone a process of opening up, Hong Kong has transformed yet again – this time into a service-based economy as well as an important gateway to the world’s largest market.
Under the principle of ‘One Country, Two Systems’, Hong Kong became a Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China on 1 July 1997. This arrangement allows the city to enjoy a high degree of autonomy, including retaining its capitalist system, independent judiciary and rule of law, free trade and freedom of speech.
A look at the city’s history could give a strong impression that change is the only constant here. However, despite all its reinventions, Hong Kong’s spirit has never changed. In fact, the same energy and dynamism that turned a group of sleepy fishing villages into a crossroads of international trade is now taking Asia’s world city into the 21st century. Experience that spirit and Hong Kong’s story yourself by exploring the city’s rich culture and heritage.

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Next Singapore

Visiting Fort Jefferson,Dry Tortugas ,Key West Florida ,2012

Perhaps the most unusual national park in the national park system is Dry Tortugas. It’s one of the smallest, one of the most remote, and one of the least visited. But it’s nevertheless a wonderful park, comprising seven small islands, coral reefs and other undersea attractions, and nesting areas for a variety of wild birds. The park includes some 64,657 acres of land above and below the water line.

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During and after the Civil War the fort began to be used as a prison for deserters and other criminals. In 1874 the army completely abandoned the fort after several hurricanes and a yellow fever epidemic, and it wasn’t until 1898 that the military returned in the form of the navy, which used the facilities during the Spanish-American War. The fort was also used from 1888 through 1900 as a quarantine station, and was garrisoned again briefly during World War I.

In 1908 the area was designated as a bird reserve and transferred to the Department of Agriculture. On January 4, 1935 it was designated as Fort Jefferson National Monument by President Franklin Roosevelt, the first marine area to be so protected. On October 26, 1992 the monument was upgraded to National Park status in a bill signed by President George Bush.
Journey to the Park

There’s no “easy” way to get to the Tortugas. The islands are located about 70 miles west of Key West in the waters of the Straights of Florida. A four hour boat ride is necessary to cross the waters of the straight which connects the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico. Excursions are available on ferries by operated by several concessionaires, one of which can be seen below as it appeared in the 1996-1997 season.

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Little land is seen on the trip, except for a glimpse of the tiny Marquesas Islands not far from Key West, but the waters of Gulf are exceptionally beautiful. The imposing outline of the walls of Ft. Jefferson on Garden Key eventually comes into view, seeming so incredibly improbable in the middle of nowhere.

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The boat swings around the island, and the southeast corner of the fort can be seen, along with the beach which is evident on the southern portion of the key. These first views of what was the 19th century’s largest coastal fort are particularly impressive.

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Garden Key is almost completely covered by the fort. The red brick walls of the fort contrast strikingly with the blue-green waters of the Gulf which surround it, as can be seen in the picture below.

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Another view of the fort, and the lighthouse, is shown here.

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For some visitors there is a faster way to reach the park–by seaplane. In the picture below a row of planes are parked on the beach outside the entrance to Fort Jefferson. In fact, the island was used as a seaplane base during World War II.

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Outside Walls of Fort Jefferson

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The walls are surrounded by a moat. Although it might seem strange that a moat would be necessary outside a fort surrounded by miles and miles of ocean, it was intended to provide protection against not only potential invaders but also the relentless pounding of the surf. The view below looks toward the east along the south wall.

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The view below looks the opposite way and provides a clear view of the relationship of the moat to the walls of the fort. By any estimation the building of the fort was a remarkable engineering accomplishment. The foundation was laid 2 feet deep and 14 feet wide, underwater. The walls of the fort are 8 feet thick and about 50 feet high.

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Another view of the entrance to the fort can be seen in a picture taken from on top of the walls. The bridge (seen in the center of the picture) replaces a drawbridge which used to furnish the path across the moat into the fort.

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Fort Jefferson itself is six sided building constructed of 16 million hand-made red bricks. A closer view of the moat can be seen in this shot looking east toward the entrance of the fort. Construction of the moat was also an engineering challenge and was not completed in 1873.

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A view of a corner turret land a eastern wall is shown below.

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This section of the wall lies on the southwest portion of the fort. A walk, which lies on the outer wall of the moat, can be seen in the upper left portion of the picture. The moat is filled with sea water and turtle grass, jellyfish, sea squirts, yellow stingray, queen conch, mangrove snapper, bristle worms, sea cucumber.

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Although the walls are generally in good condition, in places considerable damage can be observed. Some of this damage has occurred as a result of a poor foundation which, by 1857, had already caused the walls to begin cracking as it settled. Other damage resulted from the accumulated effects of the powerful hurricanes which have periodically pounded the island.

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